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It comes in the dead of night. The inky blackness allows it to prowl its desert domain undetected. It is restless; forever searching, always hungry. From my perch near the window, I could sense it, even if I couldn’t see it. The air felt heavy with a foreboding that made my hair stand on end. As my eyes sifted through the shadows of the cool December night, I knew I was being watched. It was coming for me. It was just waiting for the moment I dropped my guard.

I have been steadfast with my nightly watch since first moving to this secluded ranch. Tucked away in the arid wilds of Coachella Valley, it had been unoccupied for some time when we arrived almost a month ago. Our homecoming wasn’t met by the warm welcome of neighbors. There was only silence for miles around, the blistering sun, and the brushy, dry wasteland that extended endlessly all around us. The ranch house itself didn’t offer much comfort either. It was small and musty with everything covered in a thick blanket of dust.

Mom didn’t mind. When I peered up at her, silently questioning why we had to move to such a Godforsaken place, she just smiled down at me and insisted it was too good of a deal to pass up. She had always dreamed of owning a ranch and this place, the Desert Splendor Ranch, was her way to make her dream a reality. She was too in love to see it for what it was, but I did. This wasn’t a homestead fit for humans nor beasts. It was the hunting ground of monsters.

The first time I glimpsed the creature, it was a nearly moonless night like tonight. I was curled up on the couch, drifting dangerously close to sleep. The window above me was open with only the thin screen to protect me from the shrouded world beyond. Without warning, an uneasy feeling crept across my entire being. I jumped to my feet, now fully alert, with no clue why. Something told me to turn and look out the window. There it stood in a small patch that was barely illuminated by the waning moon. It crept close to the ground on all fours. It looked like a dog, but far more sinister. Its dark, gray hairless body was long and slender. Its ribs were painfully visible. Black spikes extended up from its spine. I couldn’t look away, even as the hair across my entire body stood on end.

Suddenly, it stopped in its tracks, lifted its nose skyward and snuffed at the air. It caught a scent it couldn’t resist. Frozen, I watched as it snapped its head toward the open window and locked its large, black, soulless eyes directly on me. Terror wrapped its icy fingers around my racing heart and my breath felt like it was knocked out of me. Instinctively, I dove to the floor. I had to escape its hungry gaze. With my eyes squeezed shut and panting, I laid at the foot of the couch for what seemed like ages. Please go away. Please don’t be real. Those words played on repeat inside my hurried mind. When I finally gathered the courage to look again, it was gone.

Sadly, it was real. And I wasn’t going to be able to wish it away. It came every night after that. It would relentlessly circle the house for hours, seemingly probing for a weakness. I tried to stay out of sight and secretly observe its every move. But it knew I was there. It could smell me; perhaps even sense me. Night after night, I tried to alert Mom. She needed to know she was in danger; that her dream home was under siege. She never paid heed to my warnings. She would just groggily brush me off, begging me to let her sleep. I was terrified, but I knew it was up to me to protect her. She was everything to me.

Like every night before it, the monster was back. I could sense its voracious presence as it circled the house, staying just out of sight. Something about tonight felt different. Its desperation was palpable. Maybe it was the long nights of starvation, or maybe it was the sudden drop in temperature in the valley. I couldn’t be sure. But something was definitely different. Regardless, I found myself on edge and ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. I struggled to keep my composure as I sat near the open window above the couch, focusing on the dark beyond, waiting to catch a glimpse of the creature. I waited and waited. The thrumming suspense was building inside me to a crescendo with each passing moment of utter silence and stillness.

Without warning, a loud crash resonated from the kitchen. My heart leapt into my throat and I felt rooted in crippling terror. Mom! I had to protect her. I shook off my mental bindings and bounded forward, darting toward the other side of the house. When I reached the doorway of the kitchen, I stopped in my tracks. The screen that belonged to the open window above the sink laid in a crumple heap on the floor. It was inside!

Before I could gather my thoughts, a low guttural growl emanated from my left. Slowly, I turned to meet the menacing darkness to realize that I had come face to face with the monster. I was frozen in place as we locked eyes. I knew what it had come to do. It was ravenously hungry, and it came to satiate itself on our flesh. I used this realization to steel myself for what I had to do.

With a furious wail I set upon my adversary, with teeth bare, as I aimed directly for its throat. The monster lurched toward me snarling and frothing at the mouth. In an instant we locked on each other. I clawed and bit frantically at the creature tearing at its leathery flesh. We grappled on the kitchen floor for what seemed like an hour but was probably only a matter of minutes. It was stronger than me…supernaturally strong. It quickly subdued me beneath its large, clawed paws. I yelled frantically for Mom, while trying to fend the beast off. I was trapped and panic began to set it.

Mom! Mom! Help! It’s got me!” I screamed.

The monster snapped hungrily at me exposing its long needle-like fangs. In an instant it lunged at me sinking its teeth deep into the side of my neck. I howled in pain as I felt my blood gush into the creature’s mouth. It eagerly lapped at my vital fluid. I fought back, clawing desperately, and screaming for Mom as long as I could. But everything started to grow dark. I could feel my heart growing weaker. As I started to fade, the creature stopped feeding and jerked its head toward the back hallway. Something had startled it. It released me and bolted. I could hear its paws hit the kitchen counter as it leapt up from the floor and back out the window.

The light overhead clicked on, blinding me. I heard Mom’s startled cry and watched as her bare feet thudded across the tile floor as she raced to my side.

Oh my God! Oh my God!” She screamed, “Oliver!” she called to me frantically. I felt my body lift off the floor and out of the pile of blood that was seeping from the wound in my neck. She gently scooped me into her arms. I was fading in and out of consciousness, but I could see her face. With tear-stained eyes, I had never seen her look so beautiful. You’re my everything, I thought as I sank into the darkness that was beckoning to me.

Doctor, is he going to be okay?” I could hear Mom ask; her voice strained. I could tell she had been crying. She cried a lot since Dad died. It was always my job to comfort her, but I couldn’t get to her. My body wouldn’t respond to my desperate commands.

I can’t say for sure. He’s lost a lot of blood,” A strange voice responded. My Mom openly sobbed. “We’re giving him blood now. If he makes it through the night, he’ll be out of the woods,” the stranger soothed.

I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t. I wanted to reach for her, to let her know I was still here and that I didn’t plan on leaving her. She needed me. I was all she had; she told me time and time again. It was like she could read my mind. I felt her hand on top of my head as she gently stroked my hair.

Do you know what could have done this? Something broke into the house but it was gone by the time I found him,” she asked, her voice breaking.

I…I’m not sure. I’ve only seen this a few times before, and always post-mortem. Usually cattle and goats are the main target of…well,” The stranger cleared his throat. “They always have the same two puncture marks and are totally drained of blood. I’ve never seen anything like it until I moved to this valley,” he continued. “The locals blame it on some mystical creature. El Chupacabra if memory serves.”

Something very real did this to him, Doctor. Not some imaginary creature,” Mom responded angrily before her voice softened. “Do everything you can. He’s the best cat I’ve ever had. He’s my world,” she then sobbed. I felt a gentle kiss on my forehead.

I’m here, Mom. I thought, trying my best to nuzzle against her. I’m not going anywhere. I can’t let the Chupacabra get you.


Michelle Wolfe is a horror, paranormal, and supernatural author based in Los Angeles, California.

Having spent most of her life in the haunting bayous of Louisiana, she has since relocated to Southern California where she lives with her husband of 15 years and their 4 cats. She has had a life-long interest in all things dark and mysterious, ranging from occult studies to paranormal phenomenon and beyond.

Other than writing, Michelle's favorite things include: cats, horror/b-movies, southern gothic music, wearing black, avoiding the sun, and exploding into bats and glitter to avoid social situations.


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